In the Thick of Satire

This deliriously foul-mouthed political satire is set sometime between 2002 and the day after tomorrow; hard to say, given that the country with which U.S. and U.K. pols want to go to war is unnamed save for its location in, you know, the Middle East. The prime minister and president, likewise, go unnamed. But several of the British wonks and wankers at the dark heart of this rambunctious catastrophuk first appeared in writer-director Armando Iannucci’s BBC series The Thick of It, which debuted in the thick of Tony Blair’s reign as PM. So Iraq it is — satire from a safe distance. Which doesn’t diminish the impact or dull the point. Doc or mock, the response is the same: You are laughing at idiocy, whether it’s coming from a peace-loving, warmongering general played by Colin Powell or James Gandolfini. All In the Loop is missing is a sieg-heiling Peter Sellers in a wheelchair and James Carville in the war room. Zooming back and forth between London and D.C., In the Loop hasn’t any real plot — it plays like a rather brilliant Brit-com stretched over 100 minutes, a collection of anecdotes and incidents. The final scene, played beneath the closing credits, suggests that what seems like a monumental, world-altering decision to most is merely tedious paper-pushing to these pricks. All done during the course of business hours.
Mon., Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m., 2009

 
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